Most of my professional career was in the field of
marketing. I enjoyed working on marketing strategies. We would define the goal
we wanted to accomplish, then create strategies to accomplish those goals. After
executing the strategies we’d take a step back and review our return on
investment or ROI. Based on our analysis, we would revise our strategies and
try again for success. Lately I found the process works the same when we want
to make improvements to our lives.
Often in business, strategies or tactics – or how we get to
the goal – are often mistaken for the goal. For example, the goal is not to
create a website; the goal is to increase brand awareness. The website is a
tactic in the strategy of increasing online presence. The tactic is the how we
execute the strategy. The strategy is the path to the goal. As in business, our
personal goals should be what we really want to achieve. When it comes to our
personal lives, to truly achieve the life we desire, it is important to stay
out of the specifics (strategies or tactics) and instead look to a larger goal.
For instance, stop focusing on wanting a specific job or promotion. Instead,
focus on the goal of fully expressing your purpose throughout your life. This
may include a new position (tactic) within the strategy of living your purpose
through your work. It may also include volunteering which fits within the
strategy of living your purpose through a hobby or passion. Spend some time
gaining clarity about what you want on a very deep level. Explore what you want
to feel and experience. Steer way from specific ways to get there, instead
define the overall essence of what you want.
Then open your mind to multiple strategies to achieve your
goal. Often our thinking is limited. We can only see one way to accomplish what
we want. What if instead there were multiple paths to our ultimate goal? When we explore various ways to reach our
goals, our stress levels decrease as our options increase. If we only see one
path to our goal and if that path is blocked or delayed, depression,
frustration or anger may be the result. Be open to multiple ways to reach your
goal. Explore them all. See what works and what doesn’t. Find out if one or a combination
of multiple strategies create the final result for which you are looking.
The tactics are where we take action. Tactics are the daily
efforts. If you are a procrastinator, break down your tactics into bite-sized
chucks. Many of us may find the tactics stressful if we put too much importance
in them. Remember we want to achieve our goal. We don’t always need to achieve each
specific tactic. If we want to make a delicious cake, but we don’t have the
exact ingredients the recipe calls for, we know we can still make something
delicious with a few substitutions. Don’t stress over following the recipe.
Make substitutions and use what is available. You may find that you are able to
create something even better than what you had planned.
Sometimes our strategies help us reach our ultimate goal.
Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes when we reach our goal, we find out it isn’t
quite what we wanted. Periodically review your strategies and goals. How often
are we so focused on the doing of life, that we don’t stop to note if what we
are doing is making us happy? Every so
often, review what you want out of life and how you are going about achieving
it. Has what you want shifted? Is the effort in your strategies paying off or
is it time to find a different way? Be open and flexible as you explore new
strategies to achieve your dreams.